The Jakarta Post
The government is planning to cancel Indonesia's hosting of the 8th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Nusa Dua, Bali, in October after finding out that the organizers had failed to raise enough funds to finance the international event.
'We have informed the media that Indonesia will not be able to host the 8th IGF from Oct. 21 to 25 because we are facing financial constraints,' Ministry of Communication and Information spokesperson Gatot Dewa Broto told The Jakarta Post recently.
The news came as a surprise for the organizers who claimed that there was no decision yet as to whether the event should be canceled.
Contacted separately, the chairman of one of the key IGF organizers, the Indonesia Internet Service Provider Association (APJII), Semuel Abrijani Panerapan, said he knew nothing about the cancellation plan from the government. 'We haven't heard about the cancellation plan. The government has invited us to a meeting this week, maybe to discuss this matter. We will just have to wait and see,' he said, refusing to give further comment.
According to the website intgovforum.org, the United Nations is 'still in touch' with the local organizers to discuss relevant aspects of the IGF 2013 meeting despite rumors that Indonesia will cancel the event. It says neither the IGF Secretariat nor the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which is responsible of helping fund IGF activities, have received any official notification of cancellation of the meeting.
The IGF is an annual multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogues on Internet governance, which brings together stakeholders, including governments, the private sector or civil society and NGOs as well as academic communities from all around the world, to foster an equal, open and inclusive environment on Internet governance.
The IGF was formally announced by the United Nations Secretary General in July 2006.
Gatot said that the IGF 2013 would cost Rp. 22 billion (US$ 2.1 million). However, as of today, the IGF organizers said that they had only collected Rp. 9 billion from various sponsors, while the Communication and Information Ministry could only allocate Rp. 2.5 billion. 'We are still lacking Rp. 10.5 billion to hold the event,' Gatot said.
He confirmed on Friday that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Google are willing to donate to support the event, but added that he doubted that their donation would change the situation.
He said that the government had tried to get additional funds through the 2013 revised state budget (APBN-P) or from the Telecommunications and Informatics Funding Provision Management Agency (BP3TI) budget. However, the government has thus far failed to solve the problem.
The government, he added, had consulted on the problem with the IGF secretariat and had asked the United Nations to understand the situation. 'Some countries, including the Netherlands, have offered to help self financing their own capital needs after they heard about our plan to cancel the event,' he said. 'However, even that can't help to cover the whole operational budget.' (tam)
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